May 26, 2016

By Bruce Anderson & David Coletto

Our latest survey of Canadian public opinion suggests that Canadians are feeling better, gradually, about the economy.

Here’s what we found:

• More people say the economy is in poor shape (57%) rather than good shape (43%), but the gap has narrowed from 36 points in March to 14 points today.

Slide1

• Feelings about the economy are worst in Alberta, and well above average in BC. In Ontario, half say the economy is in good shape and half say poor. In Alberta, albeit with a modest sample size, we see an improvement from our reading in March.

Slide2 Slide6

Slide5

Slide4

Slide3

• Liberal voters are almost twice as likely (62%) to say the economy is in good shape than are Conservative voters (33%).

• Among those with the lowest household incomes, 37% say the economy is healthy. Among those with household incomes above $100,000, 50% say the economy is in good shape.

Slide8

• A separate question asked people whether they felt the Canadian economy was growing or shrinking. Since January, the number of people who feel the economy is growing is up from 28% to 46%. The number of people who see the ecomomy in recession/depression has dropped from 69% to 50%.

Slide7

• Perceptions in Alberta stand in 27 point contrast with the national average. In Alberta 77% see the economy in recession or depression, compared to 50% across Canada as a whole.

Slide10

• Asked to predict the economy 6 months from now, most people (56%) foresee no change. Among those who do expect things to change, more (27%) expect an improvement than deterioration (17%). In Alberta, 27% expect things to get better, 24% worse.

Slide11

• While partisanship has a lot to do with stated feelings about the economy, it is worth noting that even among those who feel the economy is in poor or very poor shape, people are more likely to have positive feelings (42%) about Prime Minister Trudeau than have negative feelings (35%). To this point, anyway, this PM does not “own” a great deal of the economic difficulties that people observe. Among those who say the economy is in poor shape, 52% agree that the PM is setting the right priorities for the country while 48% disagree.

THE UPSHOT

This month’s reading on the economic mood show definite signs of improvement, including in Alberta, where oil prices have hit the economy hard. Obviously, time will tell if this improvement in the economic mood will be sustained, or if predictions that the worst is behind our economy will prove true.

It’s often said that politics is almost always about the economy, however for the last couple of years in national politics, this connection has been more tenuous. This month’s data show that even among those who feel the economy is weak, feelings about the government are relatively positive.

Methodology

Our survey was conducted online with 2,000 Canadians aged 18 and over from May 17 to 20, 2016. A random sample of panelists was invited to complete the survey from a large representative panel of over 500,000 Canadians.

The Marketing Research and Intelligence Association policy limits statements about margins of sampling error for most online surveys.

The margin of error for a comparable probability-based random sample of 2,000 is +/- 2.2%, 19 times out of 20.

The data were weighted according to census data to ensure that the sample matched Canada’s population according to age, gender, educational attainment, and region. Totals may not add up to 100 due to rounding.

Abacus Data Inc.

We offer global research capacity with a strong focus on customer service, attention to detail and value added insight. Our team combines the experience of our Chairman Bruce Anderson, one of Canada’s leading research executives for two decades, with the energy, creativity and research expertise of CEO David Coletto, PhD.

Good Decisions Require Good Data.